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Shakespeare has drawn from Holinshed's Chronicles for the historical part of the plot of Cymbeline,. He does not follow completely the Chronicles in the incident where Cymbeline refuses to pay tribute to Rome. With the exception of this incident, all other historical elements of the play are drawn entirely from Holinshed. Even a majority of the names are drawn from the chapter in the Chronicles, which narrates the history of Cymbeline. A few others, like Cloten, appear in other parts of the Chronicles. Even some of the phrases, especially those with some historical significance, are drawn from Holinshed's account.
The romantic counterpart in the plot is drawn from several sources, most notably Boccaccio. The most important among them is Boccaccio's Decameron, the ninth story of the Second Day. The story of Belarius and his banishment is said to be derived from the eighth tale of the second day. The tale recounts the suffering and banishment of a French nobleman, owing to false accusation. He also wanders in disguise along with his two children - a son and a daughter - through England and Wales.
The probable influence of Philaster, the dramatic romance of the twin playwrights Beaumont and Fletcher, is also present. Both these plays deal with the effects of a strong passion consumed by groundless jealousy. There are also some incidents that are similar in both the plays.